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tv   U.S. Senate Senators Lee Sanders on War in Yemen  CSPAN  November 29, 2018 12:21am-12:45am EST

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members considered a resolution calling for the end to u.s. military support for saudi arabia's war in yemen. a 63-37 vote holds the resolution closer to passage by the full senate. a final vote as possible next week. senators mike leigh and bernie sanders argued for passage of
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the billing and we also hear from the democratic and republican leaders on the foreign relations committee. this is half an hour. >> mr. president, i stood before this body in march of this year to protest our country's unconstitutional intervention in saudi arabia's bloody war in yemen. i was proud to stand with my colleagues, senator sanders and senator murphy to file a discharge motion of the resolution that would remove u.s. armed forces from yemen. at that time members of the foreign relations committee requested additional time to study the issue and to debate the resolution in the foreign relations committee. the chairman of that committee, my friend and colleague from tennessee, senator corker requested this with the commitment to bring forth
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legislation to actually appropriately deal with many of the issues relative to yemen, saudi arabia and ourselves. since then the committee has held a hearing on this issue and introduced a separate bipartisan bill to address it. but no further action has been taken. and so, today, eight months later, the bloodshed continues, still embedded by the united states. even amidst further revelations of the saudi depravity. it u is long past overdue congrs removed that u.s. forces from yemen as recent circumstances only confirm. today we had the chance to remedy the course of action, and to do what the constitution and justice demand. the situation in jenin is dire. the war has killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians,
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human beings must we forget each of them possessing and measurable dignity and inherent worth. it's created refugees, orphans, widows, and it's also displaced countless families. the numbers and the inhumanity are staggering, nothing short of it. since 2015,00 more than 10,000 civilians have died and 40,000 have been wounded in an attack just a few months ago a bomb was dropped on the school bus that killed 40 young boys on a school trip and wounded another 56 children. but with few americanthat's whaw until recently is the u.s. military has actually been making the crisis worse by helping one side bomb theseia innocent civilians. so, how did we get entangled in
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this crisis to begin with? in march of 2015, saudi arabia launched a war against theeb rebels after they ousted the government in the capital city. the obama administration without consulting congress quickly authorized u.s. military forces to provide logistical and intelligence support to the saudi led coalition. u.s. military support has continued since then including midair refueling, serving on, reconnaissance information and target selection assistance. in other words, we've been supporting and actively participating in the activities of the war in yemen. article one and section eight states congress shall have the power to declare war, congress. not the president, not the pentagon, not someone else in
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the executive branch or any other part of government, the congress. the founders couldn't have been any clearerer about this and thy did so with very good reason. they set up in the system of government and situated to protect the people from the dangers associated with the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few. we know from experience and the new vendor from our young nation's experience under british rule bad things happen especially at a national level when few people exercise pill for iprogramthat goes on unchecd nowhere is this more evident than in the case of the power to declare war. so the founders placed that in the legislative branch of the branch where honest, open and public debate is supposed to happen and the branch that has held most accountable at the
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most regular intervals. as alexander hamilton pointed out in the federalist paper number 69, this power would not be exercised by the executive branch. so it would be less likely to be abused, just like it was when the king of england acted in and of themselves and hours for that matter into the board. our involvement in yemen is somehow constitutionally justified under the act of 1973. this isn't true. it is true that the act makes it possible for the executive branch of government acting alone could use armed forces in cases of emergencies and subject to certain limited defined time constraints, but the conflict by
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no means am in no way shape or form constitutes a threat to the safety of american citizens. our involvement has far surpassedur to be allotted emergencyt. time constraint. while no friends of ours are a regional rebel group or one that does not itself threaten american national security, in fact the longer we fight against them, the more reason we give them to hate americaac and embre our true enemy in the region, iran. the more we prolonged activities to destabilize the region, the longer we harm our own interest in terms of trade and broad regional security. the war powers act also states the assignment of the u.s. armed forces to coordinate or participate in hostilities of a foreign country constitutes a
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conflict of war and some have argued that we have not been han engaging in hostilities and therefore have not violated the war powers act. as the defense secretary said himself in december 2017, our military is helping the saudisse make certain they hit the right thing. in other words we are helping a foreign power vomits adversari adversaries. if that doesn't constitute hostilities, i don't know what does. finally, some say that this resolution would somehow hurt our efforts to combat terrorism in the region, specifically al qaeda anda by this. however it explicitly states that it would not impede the ability to fight these groups.
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in fact u.s. involvement in jenin has arguably undermined the effort against al qaeda affiliates. the state department's country reports on terrorism for 2016 that the conflict between the saudi led forces and the insurgents has actually helped al qaeda in thean arabian peninsula and isis yemen branch could deepen their inroads across much of the country. ... >> 17 million don't have access to food.
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supplies are lost every single day. my position on this has not changed for the past eight months. but with the taking of another innocent life of khashoggi the circumstances have further deteriorated. intelligent suggest after repeated denials that the crown prince of saudi arabia himself ordered the murder his denial has only been made plainer this is not an ally that deserves our support for military intervention. especially when our own security is on the line. on the contrary to continue supporting them in this war would be bad diplomacy to undermine our very credibility. us intervention in yemen is an authorized, unconstitutional and immoral.
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and we must not, we cannot delay voting in the support of saudi arabia. if we do we have ourselves to blame for the credibility on the world stage and more importantly to blame for the thousands of lives that will surely continue to be lost. the founding fathers had incredible wisdom with issues of american treasure to be debated and discussed between two equal branches ofnt government. to understand matters of war must constantly be reconsidered and reevaluated with an open and honest in public manner. that is one of our most solemn duties in this body with the opportunity that lies squarely before us today. rioux it to the sons and
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daughters of the american people putting their sons and daughters in harm's way we owe it to ourselves who have taken an oath to uphold and protect and defend the constitution of the united states. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the motion to discharge the resolution. thank you mister president i yield the floor. >> the senator from vermont. >> ask unanimous consent to speak up to ten minutes. >> without objection. >> let me think senator lee for his leadership on this resolution at a time when many have bipartisanship with people coming together around an issue of enormous concern also think you senator chris murphy of connecticut and the
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other 17 cosponsors of this resolution. mister president, and a half hour we will be casting one of theos most important foreign-policy votes we have cast in recent years. it is a vote to demand the humanitarian crisis in yemen be addressed and it is a vote that will tell the dictatorship in saudi arabia we will no longer be a part of their destructive military adventurism that says the united states senate respects the constitution of the united states and understands the issue of rulemaking of going to war putting young men and women's lives at stake is
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determined by the u.s. congres congress, not the president of the united states. it is a congressional decision not a presidential decision if that president is a democrat or republican. mister president, march 2015 under the leadership of mohammed than the saudi defense minister and now the crown prince, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates intervened in the ongoing civil war. yemen has been a poor and struggling country for many years. but as a result of the saudi lead intervention, yemen is now experiencing the worst humanitarian disaster in the
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entire world. one of the poorest countries on earth as a result of this war according to save the children organization, some 85000 children have already starved to death. 85000 children already dead. and millions more face death and starvation of this war continues. it is with 14 million people facing starvation. yemen is currently experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in the world with as many as 10000 new cases
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developing every week according to the world health organization. cholera issp a disease spread by infected water that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and will only accelerate the death rate in the misery in that country. the cholera outbreak as it has happened in those people could not access with the attention have been a partner in this horrific war we have been providing the bombs that the saudi led coalition is using and refueling their planes and
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assisting withoo intelligence weapons are used to kill civilians as it is now well known that obliterated a school bus to be used in a string of such deadly attacks. according to the all the independentde auditing group between march 2017 and marc march 201830 percent of that saudi led coalition has been nonmilitary. 30 percent i met with some brave human rights activist and urging congress to put a
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stop to this war and they told me when the yemenis dropped the bombs that are killing them when they see usa it tells them we are responsible for this war and that is the sad truth. this is not the message the united states of america wants to send. that the united states should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with a dangerous and irresponsible military policy. above and beyond the humanitarian crisis, this war has been a disaster for national security and the security of our allies. the administration defends our engagement for the iranian
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support for the booty rebels while support is for all of us and the fact is the relationship of iran has only been strengthened with the intensification of this war it is creating thes very problem they want to solve it also undermines the effort under violent extremist. 2016 state department says the conflict has helped al qaeda to deepen their inroads across much of the country. this is both a humanitarian disasterte and a strategic disaster with international terrorism.
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to never project that saudi arabia is an undemocratic monarchy controlled by the saudi family and in a 2017 report by the conservative cato institut institute, saudi arabia was ranked o 149th out of 155 countries in terms of freedom. the saudi's have funded schools with that extreme form of islam and in saudi arabia today women are treated as third class citizens and women still need the permission of a male guardian to go to school or get a job and have to follow a strict dress code and can be stoned to death for adultery or spending time in the company of a man that is
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not their relative. earlier this year saudi activists a leader in the fight for women's rights was kidnapped and was forced to return to saudi arabia she is currently held without charges. the same is true of many other saudi political activists. sadly, president trump continues to proclaim his love and affection for the saudi regime with brutality and lawlessness of that regime was made clear to the whole world with the murder of saudi journalist khashoggi at the consulate in turkey and as part of his continuing respect for those authoritarian regimes around the world president trumpje rejected the finding of the cia assessment that the saudi prince was
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responsible for that murder. finally with an issue that has long been the concern of many of us that senator lee touched on that thoughtfully, it is the united states congress, not the president of the united states has warmaking responsibilities. for too long we have abdicated that responsibility so today i say to my conservative friend friends, respect the constitution, reclaim congress' rightful role on the issues of "war and peace". congress has not authorized the war in yemen and therefore that war is unconstitutional and that must change now. mister president, we are going
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in a few minutes to undertake a very very important vote and i hope all of my colleague colleagues, democrats and republicans will vote to discharge this resolution. think you i yield the floor. >> the senator from new jersey. >> i rise today to speak to the senate resolution 54 legislation brought forward by senators and lee sanders and murphy eight months ago the past two years have reminded us time and time again of the urgent responsibility of congress to perform real checks and balances to steadfastly defend our american values at home and abroad. i think them for their continued efforts throughout these intervening months to shed light on the devastating humanitarian crisis in yemeney


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